The Value of the Ferris Wheel

What do the Vocus PR & Marketing Conference and a Ferris wheel have in common? It turns out, a lot. I experienced both last week as Vocus, the giant marketing software company, held its Demand Success convening at National Harbor in suburban Maryland. After a day taking in the fantastic and informative sessions, I treated a client of mine to a ride on the Harbor’s newest attraction, “Capital Wheel.” This Ferris wheel soars 175 feet in the air and offers breathtaking views of the D.C. area. Here is what I’ve concluded:

In business, there is always something new on the horizon, just like the Ferris wheel. Demand Success was full of great sessions (including one about Pop Up Innovation Labs by Thomas Sanchez of Social Driver). You can’t be content to just watch the scenery. At Demand Success we heard about brilliant, game changing ideas such as Cox Content Marketing and TechValidate.

Here I am, at the top of the Capital Wheel, reflecting on a day at Vocus Demand Success.

Here I am, at the top of the Capital Wheel, reflecting on a day at Vocus Demand Success.

Being at the top of the wheel doesn’t guarantee financial success. “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier added some star power to the Vocus event with a fireside chat about his projects. But I got the most out of an aside comment he made. He said HBO pays as if it’s an “independent movie company.” In other words, it pays below the going rate of a big studio. No doubt, this keeps HBO financially lean. Yet the lesson was clear: just working for a big name at the top of the wheel doesn’t mean huge dollars are on the table.

You have to travel to see the scene. At Demand Success I met Vocus clients from across the country. This high tech company regularly connects with clients via phone, email and other web services. Yet it understands the most powerful way to align with a client is in person, face-to-face. Just like my trip on the Ferris wheel showed me, sometimes you have to take the journey to see the best view.

A special thanks to Breeanna Straessle with Vocus and Geoff Livingston for their great help and work putting it together.